Friday, December 17, 2010

stay with me for a bit...

I'm knee-deep in applications at the moment...

Monday, December 13, 2010


I would like to introduce a new word: fuckus.

It is when you are focused because you feel fucked.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If you ever want to make me cry...

I'm not a huge sap but I'm also not made out of stone. I cry at some movies, and I roll my eyes at others.

There is one theme, though, that will constantly twist the inside of my throat, and that is the theme of parents. I don't necessarily respond to all themes that come with parents, specifically the negative ones, mostly because I don't identify with the experience of having bad parents. I know I'm extremely lucky in that sense.

I will instantly cry if I see a scene where the parent shows unconditional love to their child. It can come in any form, but it will strike me the most when the parent-child relationship is strained in a normal way (the type that might stick around during the child's teenage years), and is solved in a non-grandiose quiet thing uttered by the parent. This reminds me most of my parents, and it almost always makes me cry.

One of the most poignant quotes uttered by a fictional character that really made me bawl was from an episode of "The West Wing". President Bartlett and his middle daughter experience some tension, and the daughter mentions how she doesn't know how to make the President happy. During a movie screening, he quietly tells her, "The only thing that you ever had to do to make me happy was come home at the end of the day."

TEAR. I mean, I don't stand a chance with a quote like that. I cry like a baby when I hear a line like that because I am so lucky to have parents that feel that way about me. They didn't raise me in a Western way where "YOU'RE SO SPECIAL YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL I LOVE YOU HONNNEEYY" was an everyday thing. Their main teaching was to be a responsible person no matter what decision I made. But they allowed me to make my own decision and allowed me to royally fuck up on multiple levels, and still be there for me.

After the test, my parents emailed me to let me know that they were proud because they knew that I had tried as much as I could. No matter the result, I know I am an extremely lucky person to have parents like them who will be happy enough when I come home to them at the end of the day - sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When you try and try

I didn't post yesterday, but I wanted to be as prepared as possible for my LSATs.

I did not do well.

It wasn't as disastrous as last time, but it's also not a gut feeling. I actually ran out of time and had to guess on a significant part of one of the sections. It's OK, though. I'm not retaking it. I'm going to take it as is, since this is what my capability is.

I'm going to apply to law school still, but I can't help but wonder why I keep doing poorly on something I know I can do well in. I have never tried so much and not get too far.

I don't know what my score is, and I won't know until January, so no real reason to dwell on it. But, just for tonight, I can't help but feel like a failure. I know I'm not. But I can't help but feel like one.

I am certainly a believer that all things happen for a reason. Some how, this is going to work out and I'm going to find out what I'm supposed to do and I'll do it.

In the meantime, I'm going to take a look at myself...

(and show off my new camera while I'm at it). ( I need to clean my mirrors and make my bed...)

Tonight, I'm going to feel bad for myself while watching Toy Story 3. I've never seen it and I either have interests of a 65 year-old (Medicare) or a child (cartoons). I thought it was the farthest thing from real shit that I have to deal with now, so that's my way of dealing with it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to snap out of it and get myself together and work with what I got!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I hope

the Senate passes the Dream Act tomorrow. Sadly, I'm not holding my breathe. But... who knows!!!


Pretend that I'm writing this last night!

I try not to get political on public forums. This is the internet, so this is a public forum. I'm not huge on professing my personal political views, because I value neutrality in a lot of ways and want people to feel comfortable expressing their views to me without fear of my judgement. I've made exceptions when I feel really strongly about it, but I try not to be too preachy.

When I heard about the extension of the Bush era tax cut the morning of the 7th, I was genuinely confused. I was confused with the deal and what the Republicans think is good for Americans. The Bush era tax cut is extended - loss of revenue. They lowered Social Security pay roll - more loss of revenue towards the Social Security trust fund. They agreed to the extension of unemployment benefits - more spending. I know that the extension of the unemployment benefits was a compromise that the Republicans made. But I just don't understand how the Republicans want to control the national deficit without tax revenue. Isn't this simple math? If you don't want to subtract, but want to decrease a negative, you have to add.

This isn't an attack on the GOP. I just want an explanation. I want to understand how the GOP maintains the belief of small government and small taxes. I'm so confused right now with where the country is going, it makes my head spin. I also am confused with how some progressive liberal economists are encouraging constant spending, saying that it's stimulating, so my confusion is bipartisan.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Tweet tweet.

I hate the word Twitter. I hate the verb tweet even more. I also don't like the verb blog. Why do all tech words sound like they're uttered by 2 ft alien munchkins? I just can't take myself seriously when I utter those words.


I love Twitter. I was hesitant at first about jumping on the bandwagon, especially because I'm usually not one to have my finger on the pulse of pop culture. However, Twitter has opened up to me for 2 big reasons:

1. It is the greatest way to voice a complaint against a company. I have bitched (nicely and respectfully) to NYC MTA, LA County Voter's Registration Office, and Orbitz and have gotten immediate responses to fix any issues I've had. I would have never gotten that kind of attention if I had left a comment or sent an email.

2. It has given my (brief) direct contact to people I admire from afar. My first celebrity @reply was from Mark Bittman, who is one of my favorite cookbook writers and columnist from the NY Times. I have gotten someone friendly with a blogger from my FAVORITE food blog Today, I got a direct @reply from one of my biggest friend-crush of all time - Mr. Jay Smooth at Underground Railroad on WBAI radio station. The are all really little moments, but it makes me feel that much closer to these people I look up to.

There are other reasons why I think Twitter is amazing. When the Iran protest happened after the fraud election, seeing Iranian tweets all over Twitter sent shivers down my spine. It has also allowed me to stay in touch with some dear friends. I also like that not everyone in my personal network is following me on Twitter, which allows me to be a little more open and constant with my updates. (I do still use discretion...)

Anyhoo, the joy of getting an @reply from Jay Smooth triggered this post tonight. It makes me giddy that his @reply to me is still his latest update. I'm going to go to bed with that small happiness!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Delayed start.

I came back from Japan exactly a week ago, and I am still feeling the aftermath. I have done this trip so many times in my life but this is the worse jet lag I've experienced in the last several years. I can fall asleep at a regular hour-ish now, but I constantly feel sleep deprived, regardless of how much I sleep.

Because of this dilemma, I woke up much later than I usually do this morning. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but it really isn't. Sunday is the day before Monday when you're supposed to get all errands completed to attack the week. The more I work, the more I value an efficient Sunday. I know this makes me sound like a militant crazy person, but it has worked the last couple of years.

This morning, I woke up about 2 hrs later than I usually do, despite going to bed the night before no later than normal. It felt so wasteful, and I started thinking about how everything was going to be pushed back. But then I noticed how clear my brain felt and, despite cursing myself for waking up, how relaxed my body felt. I laid in bed remembering the days in high school when my mom practically had to literally kick me out of bed to get the day started. I don't know where that girl went. That girl had the laziest Sundays in the world. I used to do jack shit.

I want my lazy-do-jack-shit Sundays back. Granted, those days were also when my mom did all of my cooking, and the only thing I had to take care of was completing my homework. I also didn't always finish my homework. Life was so simple then, and I couldn't even fully do what I was supposed to.

When I'm home for the holidays, it feels like those times of lazy ass days. I can't friggin wait. 20 more days!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I'm wide awake today.

If you didn't notice, I wrote last night's post in near delirium. Ever since I started working, once the clock passes 10PM, I start to lose consciousness and can barely keep my eyes open.

I, however, am wide awake today because "Mean Girls" was on and anything Tina Fey writes will keep me up.

Today marks a week from my test. I've literally been studying for this test for the last 3 years. I did less-than-ok the first time, might have done OK on the second or royally screwed up the second time (don't ask), and this is my third time. Third time better be the mother-effin charm. Things are feeling alright, though. And Legally Blonde is now on AGAIN, which makes the whole process seem so easy. I kid not - this movie was on right before my tests the lasts two times. TBS must know that this is school application time.

I am really lucky to have people who have supported me throughout this whole process. My fam bam gets me little charms that are meant for academic success. When I was in Japan, I got my fortune told at a temple. It came out really negative, but it was just a piece of paper that provided the bad fortune, so I'm not sweating it. When you get a bad fortune at a Japanese temple, you can tie it on this little rack to wish it away. You can see my determination to decide my own future in this picture:

I'm going to keep this spirit until the end of the year. Make my own fortune, biaatch!

Friday, December 03, 2010

It's 20 minutes into the 4th

but I'm still going to count is at the 3rd.

Although I bitched about how difficult the last couple of years have been, it hasn't been without joys. This past November, I got to go on some much anticipated trips that have honestly been some of the best times of my life.

The first is my mom's visit to the East Coast. She came to New York for a quick visit, and one of the things we did while she was here was going to Washington D.C. The last time I had gone to D.C. was when I was in 8th grade, when I didn't appreciate the importance of a capitol city. This time around, I couldn't get enough of it. Just seeing Capitol Hill and thinking about how laws are (supposed to be) made in the building sent shivers down my spine. More details of that later.

The second trip is a trip I made this past Thanksgiving to Japan. I went to Tokyo with one of my best pals Peter, and met up with my sibs and their plus ones. More on that later too.

I just wanted to mention today about those 2 trips because the were 2 bright spots of an otherwise difficult year. It's a reminder that it's been a descent year.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

So, I had this idea...

...and I failed already.

I had this idea that I would blog everyday in December, because I couldn't believe it was already December, and I wanted to savor this holiday season as much as possible. It's December 2nd, and I've already missed one day.

Whatevs. Can't cry over spilled milk, and better fess up to the mess-up than not do anything at all.


I love the holiday season. I love the commercialism about it. I don't actively practice any religion, and Christmas isn't really a huge thing in my family, so I'm all about Xmas and it's shiny wasteful glory. I love the days that lead up to Xmas and New Year, and the anticipation up to it, and I want it to last as long as possible, because January 2nd is usually one of the most depressing days of the year. This is my sad attempt to do so.

Man, did this year pass quickly! I woke up on 1/1/2010, I blinked, and now it's December. WTF. This year for me was (again) one of lots of trials. I have to be honest. The last 3-4 years have not been the best. They weren't the worse, but they have been the years-of-trying-to-do-things-and-failing-miserably. I'm trying to do something again this year (applying to law school), and although I'm giving it all I have, I'm fully anticipating for an alternative outcome. (I'm not saying failure. It's too maddening.) I haven't been fully happy in the last 4 years, because I think I know what I want to do in life, but I can't get to where I need to be.

I'm not trying to sound depressed, because I'm also not wallowing in my sorrow. What a wasteful sack of shit of time. What I am trying to do is do everything in my power to try to achieve goals that I have for myself and GET. SOME . WHERE. I'm getting too old to fuck around, and I want to finally succeed in something that I put my heart into. I haven't been able to do that in a long ass time.

SO! This month is the last haul. It's the last month of the year, but it's also my last month of trying to get into law school (at least for this application cycle) and get my shit done. I wanted to start the month off with a bang and make sure I don't waste it.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Yeah I know...

Someone commented that at this rate I was going to come back in August to update, and I'm afraid that he/she was right on the money.

Of course I've been busy, but the reality is that I have been holding out on updating because I was without a camera, and I am a strong believer that images make blog entries stronger. This is mainly because I'm not as confident with presenting myself with just words. But alas, I am still camera-less, and I don't have the financial means to purchase one that I want.

What has happened since May? I have been working my ass off, working out, and studying a lot for my second round of LSATs. (Let us not talk about it, because I don't want to.) I also moved to a new apartment because my lovely roommate moved. I moved into a beautiful room that I would show you, if I had a camera. One of the best/worst things about my room is that I have a TV now in my bedroom. I don't have cable connection but I somehow get the Foodnetwork, so I have spent many-a-unproductive hours in front of the tube. (BTdubs, some of these shows are really irritating.)

Anyhoo, I mentioned reality at the beginning of this post, so I'm going with that theme today. Lets get real.

For as long as I've been working (all but 4+ years) I've always been at a workplace that was at least partially dependent on public funding, providing services to a specific population. We just started a new fiscal year. States should have already passed their budgets and should have already funded appropriate program. New York finally passed theirs, after delaying it for about 15-20 weeks. I'm sure California is/was overdue as well. Every year that I've been working, there's always talks about cuts to programs because of the increasing state deficits.

This is when I thank my lucky stars that I'm not brilliant enough to be in charge of who gets what kind of money.

If you ask me at work about who should get funding, I would stand by my work place's policy positions. If you ask me privately, though, I wouldn't be able to answer as quickly. It's so sad to me that programs have to fight against each other to represent their specific population, when what we're all doing is providing assistance that the public can't afford or manage. It's sad to me that when one group gets help, the other gets shafted. I think about it as a huge water balloon with holes all over, more holes than could be covered. You try to plug one, and water starts spewing out of the other hole. A classic example is a cut that one of my programs experienced, because the money had to go into gang intervention programs. Was our program more deserving of the money than the workers helping to prevent gang violence? Apples and oranges. You couldn't have put a quantitative worth on one over the other. Of course, there are situations where the needs of one population are greater than another. Starving children vs. starving adult is an example. That's why food stamp requirements are more strict with adults. I understand that. I suspect most cases aren't easily determined like that.

When I hear about the security of certain funding that we have and about other people's cut, I always wonder the long-term effect and what it could mean for the state, and therefore the country. It's pretty hard to understand how to decide the allocation of things like that.

I suppose I don't really have to worry about it too much since it's not my job. But I can't help but wonder.

Will be back for more!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hello world!

How are you?

Me? I have been busy with keeping up with life and it's expectations.

Have I been running? Yes! Am I training for a marathon? NOOOOO. Phew to that.

I have my eyes on another marathon, though. My co-worker told me of a person who proposed to do 5 marathons before 30 years old, and I thought that was a nice little goal. I'm right on track if I do a marathon a year, and I definitely have my eyes on the ING NYC Marathon. There are few ways to qualify, and one of it is to run 9 qualifying races the year before the marathon. I've done 4 so far, with 5th one coming up this weekend.

I have also been doing some yoga; hot vinyasa yoga to be exact. I. Love. It. I am loving the chaturangas so much.

I will come back and give you a more quality post. I just wanted to say hello, but I have to avert my attention else where now, because the Lakers are playing the Celtics for the first NBA Finals game. PURPLE AND GOLD!

Be back!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm still running!

And I'll post in a bit about it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The imperfect race.

The marathon is over, and I did... OK. It was an imperfect race, but not a horrible one. I had a great time running it, and it has fueled a couple of new goals for the future.

Let us back up.

I flew into Los Angeles around midnight on Friday, and went straight to bed. I woke up Saturday feeling very fresh. I felt like I got to sleep in, but in reality, I woke up around 7AM PST. I love jet lag. My dad and I left early in the morning to go to the expo to pick up my race bib. The expo was at Dodger Stadium parking lot, where we had to climb several stairs to get to the fair. It was pretty disorganized, and they kept on closing different exit ways, which made us feel trapped in the expo. Nonetheless, my dad had a grand old time getting free snacks and chugging on some free drinks, like vanilla soy milk and Naked Juice. He also bee-lined to get a 2010 Census canvas tote bag to carry around the free shit that they were passed out. I got to score a 2010 Census water bottle and sweat band.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out, which included watching the umpteenth Bring It On movie on E! Channel and walking around South Pasadena to keep my mind busy. I couldn't stand the idea of just sitting around and freaking myself out. I was especially nervous because it was 80 degrees that day. I eventually calmed down, and enjoyed a nice Japanese spaghetti dinner at Spoon House in Gardena with my mama.

Sunday, I woke up at 4AM and did my morning ritual before any run. This includes drinking coffee, going to the bathroom, and eating a snack. I ate an almond butter-smeared banana and chugged some Smart Water. My parents took me to Dodger Stadium around 5AM and dropped me off. They went to meet up with their volunteer squad at mile 23.

We were lead into the stadium, and suddenly, I was standing in the middle of Dodger Stadium field. I looked up and saw the bleachers and got the wonderful buzzing nerve that I felt last year, right before the race started. I took it in for a sec, and then ran to the bathroom, where I peed and peed and peed. That's right. I peed, and then went right back into line, peed, and went back into line and peed. The line was long enough that I was able to pee all three times. I was not about to repeat the same mistake that I did last year, where I had to use the porta-potty right after I started running the first mile.

We were told to gather because the race was going to start, but it was really unclear as to where we were supposed to be, and where we were supposed to stand. Everything that was done at Dodger Stadium was a big fat mess. We started 15 minutes late, and it took an extra 15 minutes to cross the start line. Once we all started running, people started spreading out throughout the parking lot, because there weren't clear markers to show where the boundaries were. When we were supposed to turn, it got pretty cramped, and people were practically stepping on top of each other. Not a great start. On top of that, I started getting side cramps. I started getting those amateur side cramps that 10 year-olds get, when they eat too much and immediately try to do things, like swimming in the pool. I guess I had eaten too little too early, and my stomach started growling around 7AM, which was 45 minutes before the race started. Right before crossing the starting line, I popped in a sugary sport gummy in my mouth to fuel my run. That was the intention. What the sugar actually did was give me a stomach ache immediately after I started running. It wasn't debilitating, but it was a nagging pain that stuck with me for literally half the race. Any time I put something in my stomach, whether it be water, Powerade, or orange slices, it hurt my side. I couldn't not drink anything, though, so I ran through the pain and drank sips of fluid to make sure I wouldn't pass out from dehydration. I had to take it easy when I did, though, so I slowed down and walked a couple of steps each time I did stop, as opposed to break right into a run after drinking:

The cramp really dampened my running experience. The saving grace was the route and the scenery. The route was designed so that the runners could pass by a Los Angeles landmark at each mile. I'm not sure if it was one each mile, but there was a lot to see. We started out in East Los Angeles through Echo Park (which doesn't get the love that it deserves, so I was ecstatic to run through it) straight onto Sunset Blvd. towards Hollywood. We passed by the famous Chinese Grauman Theater, and into West Hollywood, where drag queens were passing out water (which I, of course, accepted). From Hollywood, we ran further west into Beverly Hills (down Rodeo Drive) into Culver City and Westwood, where we ran through the VA facility. After the hills of the VA, it was down to mile 23, where my parents were waiting. I was so happy to see them, and my mom got a great shot of me as I passed by:

After mile 23, it was a slow downhill towards Santa Monica Beach. The air got noticeably crisper and the breeze felt so great. I turned a corner, and saw the ocean, which gave me a sudden surge of energy as I ran passed the 25 mile mark straight to the finish line. As I neared it, I heard a "GO LISA!" from the sideline, and saw my old co-worker Ron cheering. I yelled HI! to him, and sped off to finish strong. I passed by a guy dressed up as Cousin Itt, and ran passed the finish line with a clock time of something past 4hrs 33 minutes. Crossing the finish line gives you the ultimate feeling of release. I felt FINISHED. DONE. SPENT. I got my medal and felt so good:

I turned on my phone to see if my friends were around, and was flooded with text messages from my dear dear friends. Some of them texted me right then to congratulate me, because they were tracking me online and found out that I had finished. They were all saying very sweet things about how great I did, but I didn't even know how well I had done. I saw the clock time, but I knew that wasn't correct. I was literally yelling to myself, "Awww, that's so sweet.... but WHAT WAS MY TIME???" as I read the text messages. (On a side note, I didn't try updating Facebook via phone while running because... I was running. I also saw 3 separate people DROPPING their iPhones while updating, including one that just shattered when it hit the ground.)

I finally found my friends, who drove all the way from the East Side and from Orange County to meet me and watch me finish. I have the best friends ever:

They were sweet enough to drive me back to the SGV, where we had AMAZING Vietnamese food for lunch. I don't care what people say, Los Angeles is several steps above when it comes to Asian food.

On the way to the restaurant, I found out that my time was 4:17:44. It's less than 3 minutes less than my last time. A personal record, but not the personal record I had hoped for. I took it as a good time, though, because I did improve a bit. I swallowed it as an acceptable time, and enjoyed the company that I had. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my friends, and going out to dinner at a local sushi joint where I got to spend some quality time with old friends. The night was sweetened even more, because I found out that the House had finally voted for the health care reform bill, and I got to talk about the triumph of it with people who cared. All in all, it was one of the best weekends I've had in quite some time.

The race itself was imperfect, like I said before. The logistics were planned poorly, and I faced some hurdles that hindered me during the race. I didn't have as smooth of a run as I had hoped. The race was promoted as a route that would create a lot of PRs because of the fact that it was predominantly downhill. Downhill doesn't necessary mean that it's easy, though, and I learned that I really can't expect anything associated with the word marathon as obstacle-free. The fact that this race was less than what I had wanted it to be makes me want to run another one to improve it. This desire makes me feel like an athlete, which is something I've always wanted to be. I still feel pretty uncomfortable calling myself an athlete, but this race has made take one step forward towards that label.

If anything, this race also showed me how WONDERFUL you all are. The amount of love and support that I felt on Sunday is indescribable. Even if most of you were far far away, I felt so close to all of you through the power of technology. I can't thank you enough. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! This is only the start, though, so I hope you'll stick around throughout my running adventure!

(Thanks for my mom, Naoko, and the marathon photo takers for the pictures!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The day before

It is finally here. It's finally here!

Here's my bib:

Here's my age:

Last year, they thought I was 56 too. I have no idea how this happens, since I registered with all new information. I'm going to have amazing age placement. What's worse is that there's going to be an amazing 56 year-old that is going to beat my ass.

How do I feel? I feel anxious. I'm terrified about this warm weather. I went to the Expo with my dad this morning, and realized how warm 70 degrees could be. It was warm, and it was only 10AM. I know it'll be OK, but I'm scared about being too warm. I'm also nervous, because this is my second race, and I don't think the same nerves that worked for me last year is going to work for me this year.

With all of these angst aside, I am excited. I reflect back on my training this time around, and I'm happy that I was able to keep it consistent. I don't expect to be faster than last year, since speed has never been my strong suite.

I can't really dwell on my thoughts right now. I'm hoping to have more to say tomorrow, when I'm (hopefully) done. All I have to say is that I am happy and sad that this is all over. I'm going to take a break from running for a little bit after this marathon, and dive into yoga. I'm going to give myself a month-long strength training/yoga challenge. I hope you'll still stay with me. I really want to thank all of you for all of your support. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

xoxo lisa

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A short break from running posts...

I do have other things of interest besides running. (SHOCKER.)

One thing that I love to do is to dress myself. I don't say that I'm into fashion, because I don't really know what's going on in the fashion world, and I can't tell you the name of the type of skirt that I'm wearing. I do, however, LOVE clothes and accessories. What I love most is when I'm given clothes and accessories that are hand-me-downs, which happens often.

Today, I wanted to share with you the story behind these earrings.

I don't wear them often, because I don't want to lose them. I've mentioned my love for LTSC over and over again (and you should help them out). I've met many people through this organization, a few of whom I consider my role models and mentors. On my last day, I was given these earrings by someone, who I will look up to throughout my entire life. She wrote me a card with these words: "Here are some sets of earrings from my friend, who traveled all over the world. Please feel her energy that she brought from different countries. She is one of the leaders of current Asian Pacific women in our community. I just want to pass them to you."

I'm wearing them today, and am feeling the good weight that these earrings carry. The weight reminds me about how lucky I am.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


This is an event that my former co-workers have formulated to benefit LTSC. Please feel free to send this around!

Run Lisa Run 2 (RLR2)
Can You Guess Her Finish Time?

Last year, Lisa Okamoto (a social worker at LTSC at the time) ran the L.A. Marathon for the first time in her life. She finished the circular 26+ mile course in a remarkable 4 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds. Within a matter of days before the race, she and her supporters were able to raise over $1,000 for the nonprofit agency, LTSC.


Lisa is a New Yorker now, but she plans to fly back to L.A. to run in this year's marathon.

Despite the snowiest winter in New York history, Lisa has trained diligently since November, running in rain, sleet or snow. If you think knowing more about how she's trained will help you guess the winning time, browse

If you think your knowledge of this year's course, conditions, etc. will help you decide on Lisa's finish time, check out to see the map of the one-way (downhill) course from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica Pier, elevation changes, etc.

SUPPORT THE BEST NONPROFIT UNDER THE SUN! (that rhyme is pretty bad)


1. Guess the time (hour:minute:second) that Lisa will finish. (The official time is the "chip time," not the stopwatch time.)
2. Each guess costs $5.00 (USD).
3. Multiple entries are allowed (and encouraged with discounted costs): 5 guesses for $20; or 13 guess for $50; or 30 guesses for $100.
4. If Lisa's exact finish time is not chosen by anyone, the entry with the closest time without going over is the winner.
5. If, for any reason, Lisa does not start the race, the entry closest to 00:00:00 will be the winner.
6. If, for any reason, Lisa starts but does not finish the race, the entry with the slowest time will be the winner.
(Tak settles all disputes.)

Payout is 50/50

50% of the payout will be donated to LTSC. The other 50% of the payout will go to the person(s) with the winning entry. If there are multiple winning entries, the 50% payout will be equally split amongst everyone with winning entries.

Submission of Entry

1. Entries must be received by Tak Suzuki by no later than 5pm (PST) on Thursday, March 18.
2. Entries must be either emailed to or delivered to Tak Suzuki, Little Tokyo Service Center CDC, 231 East 3rd Street, Suite G106, Los Angeles, CA 90013. If the entry is emailed, please type "RLR2 Entry" in the subject line.
3. Each entry must specify the hour:minute:second (example: 4:20:15).

Submission of Payment

Payment must be mailed or delivered to Mike Murase, Little Tokyo Service Center CDC, 231 East 3rd Street, Suite G106, Los Angeles, CA 90013, by no later than 5pm (PST) on Thursday, March 18.

You can forward this other LTSC supporters and Lisa's friends.
Good luck to everyone. Be sure to cheer on Lisa!!!


At least it was a nice day.

We had bed bugs. Have you seen the 30 Rock episode where Jack gets bed bugs and trolls around the subway looking for some sympathy? On a smaller scale, that's how I felt this week. However, the exterminator came yesterday, did his thing, and left our apartment looking like this:

Needless to day, I had to get out of there. A long run was a great escape.

I ran about 12-13 miles in GORGEOUS weather. It was above 50s today, and the sun was shining brilliantly. It was fresh and clear, and the easiest condition to run in. I did something that I hadn't done in New York since last September:

I wore shorts outside to run!

I might have jumped the gun a little bit, because I was a bit cold sometimes. However, I was excited to wear the new shorts I bought as my marathon outfit. I'm glad I did because I have officially vetoed it as part of my marathon outfit. It bunches oddly, and I felt kind of self-conscious in it. Feeling self conscious while running a marathon is the dumbest thing to do, so I am going to wear my trusty shorts from last time.

Anysnoop, the run was the best thing that I've done all week. I really needed this run. It's the kind of run that releases a lot of things that's happened during the week. There were a lot of people outside, soaking up the rays. People run outside when a hint of sun shines here, as if they were rats running out of the house after a tear gas was released. ( I have no idea if that's the way rat problems are treated.)

Next week will be about an 8-9 mile run, and then it will be race day. I. CAN'T. WAIT.
I'm off to enjoy the sun with the rest of New York. See you next week!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Third 20+ miles!!!

I am in pain. My feet hurt, I can't really bend down without whimpering, and my ass is a whole other story. And it feels daaaaaaamn good.

I completed my goal of doing three 20-mile runs before my marathon, and I completed it today!

There are two obstacles that I keep mentioning here when going on these long runs: mental and physical. The physical obstacles are some what easier, because the origin of the obstacles are usually clear, and you can do things to avoid it. The mental, on the other hand, is not as easy. One of the biggest mental obstacles on these 3-4 hr run is boredom. It's different from your normal boredom, where you're sitting at your desk, clicking through Facebook just because there's nothing else to do. It's the type of numbness you have to deal with, when you're looking for SOMETHING to distract you from the fact that you're pounding on cement and have been doing this repetitive motion for 3+ hours.

I was able to have some distraction this time around that helped a lot. One is, I tried running the surrounding streets of Central Park first to get the mileage and try a "new" route. It turned out to be great. Just going up 5th Ave from 60th to 110th is interesting because the socioeconomic level of the community changes drastically one you enter the late 90s. For you LA people, it's like going down Huntington Blvd from the Echo Park area straight into San Marino. Or going down 6-7th St from the Financial District straight into Skid Row.

My second help was meeting my friend Carmen back at 60th St and 5th Ave to go into Central Park and overcome the 110th St. Killer Hill together. She's running a half marathon the same day that I'm running the marathon, and we always talk about how hard that one hill is. I met up with her late (SORRY!!) because I had lost track of time while running around the top of the park, but we were able to run through half of the park together, before I had to make another detour to complete my mileage.

I had a great amount of energy. I really didn't need any supplement stuff, except for some coconut water that I packed with myself. The weather was perfect, and the park was winter white and beautiful. My mother and I were both concerned about this but the area I ran in were not covered by trees, and I was able to make it back safely without any freak accidents. (KNOCK ON WOOD.)

Now I am backing, noshing on this:

I have this breakfast/lunch that I eat after every long run: peanut butter, pumpkin butter, and banana open sandwich with some cottage cheese. I have been eating some sort of peanut butter and banana combination breakfast for almost 3+ years now and it's my treat for completing my run. I eat the cottage cheese to pack in the extra protein and to help my muscles heal. I SELDOM go a day without this type of breakfast ( cottage cheese only for weekends). I really hope I don't develop some adulthood peanut allergy, because that will be a very sad sad day.

Today is the beginning of the end of my training. I love training. I do. Someone once said this: It is not the race that makes you a runner, but the daily runs you do up to it that entitles you the label. I sincerely feel that way. The race is an event with some thrills that can't be replicated. But I also love this regular training and the commitment I make to myself. It's kind of bittersweet. From now until the marathon, I'm going to be decreasing my mileage on the long runs, and won't go past anything over 15 miles. I'm kind of sad about the end of my training, but also really excited to run the marathon and to see my favorite people in the world in my city!

Until next week! It's almost done, but it ain't over yet!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm back!!

I HAVE PICTURES Y'ALL, because my parents gave me a digital camera that they won in a raffle. However, they aren't heavily interesting. Visuals, though, visuals!

Let's start from the beginning.

I ran yesterday and today, like all of the weekends that I've been running to train for this marathon. However, yesterday's run was a 4 mile race for New York Road Runner's Race for Haiti. It was a fundraiser that the New York City and NYRR decided to do together, and 100% of the proceeds went to Haiti relief. The race alone raised $400,000. Pretty amazing stuff.

Anyway, I usually run 6-8 miles on Saturdays, so I decided to run to the race venue (Central Park) and then run the race. I've only done a half marathon and a full marathon as races (minus the 5ks that I did in Spain when I didn't run at ALL about 5 years ago), and I didn't have the slightest of ideas how to get a good time on such a short race. I knew enough that shorter distance did NOT mean easier run. If you're looking for some kind of time, it's actually a lot harder (in my mind, at least). But, it's for Haiti, I thought, and just ran it.

OMG it was so hard. I can't even tell you how hard. It wasn't hard physically, but mentally difficult. I was just thinking about whether or not I should speed up, about how hard I should hit the hills, and about my pace overall etc etc. Suddenly I saw the 3 mile mark, and I was forced to realize that I had to give 100% and gun it through, without really knowing how much energy I had to give. It was a very confusing race. On long runs, I start out slooooowwllyyy, and my body eventually knows how to get a good pace and last for the entire mileage. That is not the case with these short runs. I finished with a time of 32:01 and 8:00/mile split. I'm not sure if that was the best I could do. I do know, however, that I ran really hard the last mile, which made my ass sore for the rest of the day. Lesson learned. I need to do some serious speed training, i.e. shorter faster runs. (BLEEEGHHHH)

Now, on to today. I just checked, and I did a total of 14.8 miles. Not tooo shabby. I'll show it to you in forms of pictures. (YAYYYY)



After I typed that, I looked for the chord to upload all of the pictures, and I cannot find it. Come to think of it, I never saw it

I am so sad. I will report back with pictures as soon as I find it. Let me just say, that it was a fantastic 14.8 mile run, because I fucked around the entire time TAKING PICTURES. GAAAHHH.

I will try to figure something before my last 20 mile run, next week, before the marathon which is ONE MONTH AWAY. (I'm hoping that the caps will distract you from the lack of visuals. SORRY. i'M sO sOrRy. ) (i CaNnOt bE yOuR fRiEnD iF yOu sTiLL tYpE LiKe tHiS.)

Sunday, February 07, 2010


I had recently made some concrete goals for my marathon training, and today, I got 2/3 closer to one of my goals.

One goal I made was to run 3 20-mile runs before the actual marathon. I wanted to spread it out so that I can complete my last 20-mile run a month before the marathon, which meant that I do my second 20-mile run today. I had a healthy shorter run last week, and I thought I had prepared myself ready for today's run.

Let me just say, first of all, that it was successful. I was able to run the 20 miles, 21 in fact, and I ran the exact route I did 2 weeks ago.

No two runs are the same, and this 20-mile run was so different from my last 20-mile run. I didn't have any trouble with motivation, and I didn't have any mental blocks along the way that deterred me. This time, my hurdle was biological. I got really really tired and really really hungry. I felt so weak, despite having energy gummy chews. There was one point when running around the 90-100th Sts on the West Side, that I felt like I was in a dream and running through water. My limbs felt extra heavy, and I couldn't focus on one thing in my path. I felt like I might pass out at some point, but on some miraculously conscious level, I knew I wasn't going to. Training for these extreme things really makes you amazed at the body's capacity. It was also really cold again (20 degrees) but, the temperature was the last thing on my mind. I also knew on this conscious level that, despite my fatigue, I was going to be able to finish. The mind-body connection really worked it's magic today, because if the two didn't communicate, I still might be in Central Park, passed out on the road some where right now.

Anyhoo, that's one resolution almost being complete. The other resolution I had made was to do some type of strength training twice a week. One of my favorite stores in NYC, the JackRabbit had a January challenge. If you wrote a resolution at a JackRabbit store in January, and stuck with it for a month, they said they were going to give out free technical shirts, if you claim them before February ended. That little challenge worked on me, and I did my strength training twice a week. It wasn't the most strenuous training, but it was as much as I could squeeze in. I went to claim my shirt yesterday, and here it is!

I wore this bad boy today.

Anyhoo, that's the end of today's post. We're having a Super Bowl get together in my apartment. Although I have no clue as to what is going on with the game, it should be fun.

Next week, there will probably be no long run. My brother and sister are visiting me from California, and I'll be spending the weekend with them. I'm really excited to see them, but also because they are bringing me a digital camera that my parents won in some kind of raffle. More visuals more visuals!!

Have a nice Sunday!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


12:20PM 15°F. That's what it said today on CNN building in Columbus Circle when I ran across it today. I don't know about you North Easterners, but I'd like to think that's pretty f-in cold.

The human body is amazing because it can still heat up and sweat in that kind of temperature.

Today's run was one of the best. It was one of the best because yesterday was well spent. I recently came to terms with the fact that the small support network of friends I have here may disband and be no-longer in the next couple of months. I was kind of worried that I would be roaming the city by myself for a little bit, but I spent the day with a friend that I had met through my roommate, and felt encouraged. I walked around the city with him in the biting cold but felt really lucky to be in the city. I went home, and felt adventurous and ordered delivery from a Turkish restaurant down the street that I always passed by but never tried. I had a delicious carb bomb of rustic Turkish bread and all sorts of dips. I committed carbicide a la Bruno, but the carb goggles made everything rosy, especially because I was already feeling good about that day.

I woke up this morning feeling a little bloated but plenty energetic. I knew that it was cold outside, but I did a little Rocky boxing shuffle, put my gloves, headband, wool socks, fleece sweater, etc etc etc. on and ran out the door.

The cold really hurt. Literally. My toes were in pain, and nose felt like needles were poking at it. But it was exhilarating. The sun was out and clear, and it was a really pretty day. I had good pod-casts on, and I just ran through the park without drama. I had extra strength today on the hills, and never slowed down, which I think is thanks to the Turkish bread. There was this one time during my last marathon training, when my old roommate Peter and I decided to watch South Park for the night and KILLED a box of pita chips. Killed. The box was huge, and the chips were thick, oily, crisp and DERRISHUS. Of course, I regretted it afterwards, and I woke up bloaty. I did, however, go on my long run, and it turned out FABULOUS. I had so so much energy. It was the first time I felt the advantage of simple processed carbs. Obviously, we over did it, and I probably over did it a little last night too, but man o man does it work!

Anyhoo, without any hitting any walls, or crashing, or even feeling any type of fatigue, the 14.5 miles were absolutely amazing. I sped through. I swear, I could have gone another hour when I got home. I know my limits to my muscle, though, so I made it a day and ended while it was good.

Today is also said-ex-roommate's birthday. I still have no digital camera and have no visuals, but here is a virtual shout out to one of my best dearest friends. He is someone who is basically my family, and I'm sad I'm not with him right now. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETER!! I LOVE AND MISS YOU XOXOXOXOXO.

Yes, it's a little lame because I wrote it on my newspaper, but I DID write it mirror image so that it would reflect correctly on my webcam. XOXO That is love.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FINALLY! First NY 20!

I am at a stage right now where I keep falling in and out of sleep because of the fact that I FINALLY RAN 20 MILES in NYC!!!

I did it, I did it, and with no real roadblocks along the way. Sure, it was hard, but I ran the whole way through, with some welcome surprises.

First, here's my route:

You're probably thinking, "But Lisa, that's just you going to Central Park... AGAIN". Indeed, my friend, it is. What you can't really see, though, is that I ran to Central Park, did the whole loop (6 miles), ran the reservoir twice (3 miles), ran out of the park at W. 96th St and around the park to enter back in at E 96th St, and cut straight to the West Side (3 miles), ran out of the park again at E. 90th St, and ran back all the way down passing the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art until E. 60th St. (2.5 miles) and ran back home (round trip is about 6.5 miles). 6+3+3+2.5+6.5 =21 !! I actually did 21 miles.

And here is the killer elevation:

The spike at the beginning is me crossing the bridge the first time, and the gradual increase after the 10th mile is the killer hill at E. 110th St. The last spike, of course, is me crossing the bridge the second time.

I treated this run as if it was an event. I didn't go out the night before, I ate a delish bowl of squash curry and rice (which is my own creation that makes me want to pat my own back, it's so delicious), and went to bed really early after downing several cups of water. I woke up bright and early at 7AM, so that I could be out the door by 8AM, to avoid the predicted afternoon rain.

I reached the park, and it was already full of runners because NYRR was holding a half marathon. I knew about this and was a little worried about it, but it actually was pretty fun running along with a gang of race runners. There were less bikers, and the road was entirely taken up by runners. In a way, I had more space. I was running towards the reservoir, when I saw a girl who was volunteering who looked really familiar. When I got closer to her, I realized that it was Betsy who I had never met in person. I've been reading her blog regularly, though, and she's been sweet enough to comment here on some occasions. I had to go up and say hi, and she was just as sweet as the way she writes.

With that fun surprise, I got more energized and attacked the reservoir. The path was practically empty because of the race. I think it was the most enjoyable reservoir run to date. I ran around it, looking at the buildings, and also at the ducks that were walking on the frozen parts of the water (and also slipping and falling).

The rest of the run was difficult, but not mind-numbing. I felt pain, and my thighs and hip flexer were killing me around mile 15, but the air was crisp and I had a good pace. The hills in the park actually gave a relief to my overworked muscles, just the way that it did when I ran the marathon last year. I think I'm pushing in a different way that gives a break to my thighs and starts using my ass in a different way.

Once I got to E. 90th for the second time and ran down to E. 60th, I knew that I was going to make it. I went tortoise slow, but the tortoise won the race, so it was all good with me. I crossed the bridge and ran back home, and felt great. I did it! I did it, and I'm confident that I'll be able to get in another 20ish run before the marathon.

This is how I looked and felt immediately after:

It is now officially 2 months before the marathon. That means, I have about 5-6 more good long runs in me to get ready. NERVES! I bought my flight tickets too. It's getting more and more real!

See you next week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Wall and Music

My good friend Carmen was celebrating her birthday this weekend, and based on last week's drinking debacle, I learned my lesson and ran my long run the day of the celebration, as opposed to the day after.

I scaled back this week and ran 14 miles, because I was feeling tired from the 17ish miles I ran last week. It's interesting how long certain fatigues can linger, and this one really stuck throughout the week. I've realized that what I had faced last Sunday was the notorious "wall" that people talk about, when running a marathon. When I realized that, it made me more upset that I had quit and gone home. It made me more upset that I had quit, because I will very likely hit the "wall" during the actual marathon, and I might quit and not finish the race like I did last Sunday.

With that on my back, I woke up Saturday not wanting to go out and run. I woke up later than usual, and loaded up my iPod with some pod-casts, but I was not feeling it. I started listening to some music while warming up with some dynamic movements, and finally felt like going outside. This whole process took about 2 hours. I hate it when I do this. It is the biggest waste of time, and I do it often.

I rarely listen to music on my long runs, simply because 2 hours of music is not as stimulating to me as 3 pod-casts show about current events, jokes, and other stories (i.e. Fresh Air, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, and This American Life). However, I ran the 14 miles yesterday with just music, and I felt myself going faster than usual. I love running music that has a similar tempo as a heartbeat, with a strong cadence. I love cadence that is almost marching-band-like, with heavy snare, or a simple bass. Usually, when I listen to music while running, there is one song that keeps me going and keeps me really digging into my muscles to muster up the strength to lift my leg and conquer the ground. These songs are never profound or emotionally moving songs, but a song with a catchy rhythm. During my last marathon, it was "Get Em High" by Kanye West ft. Talib Kwali. This particular run was "Say it in a Love Song" by Alicia Keys ft. Beyonce. I told you that they are never profound songs. Catchy does the job well.

It was also a beautiful day in the 40s, which hasn't happened in a month. I was actually sweating a LOT and feeling warmth that I hadn't in a while. It felt good, and I'm glad that I had gone out to run, even though I wasn't feeling it.

I sadly have no photos to share, because my camera is no longer with us. I don't have enough discretionary funds to buy a new one... so I am weighing my options.

I don't know when I'm going to tackle that 20 again. I think it might be next week, but I'm honestly losing some confidence. To be frank, there are a lot of things that I am feeling less sure about when it comes to running these days. Ironically, the one thing that frees me from these thoughts is running. So, I guess I'll just keep going outside and face the cement jungle.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No to perfectionists

Today was a failed run. I did not run 20 miles.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of planning. Planning when to run, how long to run, when to not run, what to eat, how to eat... etc etc. I admit that training for marathons have made me into someone of habits, with some compulsive behaviors. I don't like being thrown off from my training schedule, and I don't like not being able to complete what I had proposed to do.

That said, I've also learned that being a perfectionist is not conducive to successful training. Shit happens. I'm the type of perfectionist that would rather not do something if it won't be done the way that I want it to be done (as opposed to the type A perfectionists). I've been able to slightly change that behavior, and it's definitely kept a positive spin on my marathon training, and life.

This slight change of state of mind was evident today. I went out last night for a birthday celebration for my roommate. I had planned on only staying an hour. I wanted to come home early, eat a late dinner (as opposed to the grease bombs that were served at the bar), and go to bed by 1AM to wake up at 9AM so I could be out the door by 10AM for my 20 mile run.

Here's what actually happened: I had fun. The drinks were cheap, the company great, and I was able to have really entertaining conversations with some new friends I had made in the last couple of months. As a newbie in town, you do have to make an effort to go out and make some connections. I've been trying to do that a lot more, and I realized that I couldn't just leave, after having only been there an hour. I ended up coming home at 2AM, ate, and going to bed at 3AM, and waking up at 10:45AM, and out the door at 12:00PM.

I've never been out this late for a long run, especially as long as 20 miles. I decided to do some different rounds of Central Park to make it 20, but was not successful. First, it was 25 degrees, which is below freezing. Granted, I had all my gears on, but my finger tips and toes lost feeling after around the 3rd hour. I also had drank more beer than usual last night, and wasn't feeling 100%. There was one moment where I felt like I was in a daze. I was definitely conscious, but felt a weird sleepy sensation coming over my body. I'm a paranoid WebMD person, and had read that drowsy-ness is a sign of hypothermia. While I knew that I wasn't cold enough to have hypothermia, I knew that it wasn't normal to feel that way. I ate some gummy sugar supplements and tried to finish the last 6 miles of my route. However, after the 3rd mile, I saw the sun starting to set a little bit, and a darkness that I wasn't used to started covering the park. I was also just plain tired of running. I wasn't tired. I could have gone another 3 miles. I was just tired of running. I made a deal with myself that I would continue running if I didn't see a bus, but right when I decided that, I saw my bus right in front of me. If that isn't a divine intervention or some extraterrestrial power telling me to get my ass home, I don't know what is. Needless to say, I'm disappointed about not completing the 20 miles. But, I am also conscious about being flexible and not being a destructive perfectionist. I ran 17 miles, and I'm going to swallow that as progress, even if it's not a success.

I'm home now, and I did a little of something that I should do more often: stretching.

I also did something I've never done before recently: bought 2 pairs of running shoes. I decided that I needed a regular pair of running shoes and a pair of trail running shoes for this somewhat snowy and icy winter. You like? That's me stretching (questionably) and showing you my new kicks at the same time.

I'm still a little bit annoyed about those last 3 miles that I didn't run. I'll get over it, because I made some potentially good friends yesterday.

P.S. My camera won't turn on. Batteries are charged, and it won't turn on!! GAHHH!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I <3 LA (run)

After a slew of holiday indulgences, I was more than ready for my long run in my beloved hometown.

I started out from my parents' house and headed east towards San Marino. I entered a really expensive residential area near Huntington Library, which is a mansion surrounded by gardens, tall bushes, and palm trees. It always reminds me of the outside of Jurassic Park. I love running in that area because it's really hilly and it keeps things interesting. Here's a hill I tackled. (Yes, it's a self-timed photo, and that tiny person is me.)

I then went towards Pasadena, and ran through the southern parts of Old Town, and ran back towards my parents' house. This is my 3 city run, going from South Pasadena, San Marino, Pasadena, and back to South Pasadena. I repeated this several times during my last marathon training, and I love the green scenery, the shades, the clear side walks, and the silence of suburban neighborhoods. (I'm sure it's Desperate Housewives mayhem inside those houses.)

I love running in the suburbs of LA because it's so calming and carefree. I can truly zone out (for the most part) because I'm running in practically people-free sidewalks, and the climate is as stress-free as the run. There are some perks to urban running that I've been doing in Manhattan and Queens, but I definitely missed these runs too.

It was a pretty strong and steady run, and I came home to a sleeping old darling adorable lovable dog. He just turned 13 a few days ago, and I try to make sure to acknowledge his presence whenever possible. He, for the most part, is not as enthusiastic about my unconditional attention, but entertains me because he's too lazy to protest.

I enjoyed my time outside in the sun and 70 degree weather. It was a nice last LA run before the actual marathon in March. Next week might just be the first time I will have to hit 20 miles, but the weather is not looking very positive in NYC... we'll see.